Psalm 119:153-160 – Look upon my suffering and deliver me, for I have not forgotten your law. Defend my cause and redeem me; preserve my life according to your promise. Salvation is far from the wicked, for they do not seek out your decrees. Your compassion is great, O LORD; preserve my life according to your laws. Many are the foes who persecute me, but I have not turned from your statutes. I look on the faithless with loathing, for they do not obey your word. See how I love your precepts; preserve my life, O LORD, according to your love. All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal.
Why does the Lord allow the righteous to suffer persecution at the hand of the wicked? Those preachers who proclaim a smooth road of peace and prosperity for all believers are false prophets. If our Lord and Master suffered persecution and abuse from sinful men, so will His followers! Suffering is a given! In fact, it is not just the intent of the wicked to make believers suffer, it is a GRANT FROM GOD! But, as the Apostle Paul teaches us – “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ… without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that you will be saved–and that by God. For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him…” (Philippians 1:27-29).
The Apostle Peter supports Paul’s perspective on suffering being “granted” by God, as he declares that we have been CALLED to suffer for doing good: “…it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.” (1 Peter 2:19-21).
Peter also helps us understand the blessing that goes with suffering and gives more instruction on dealing with it. (1 Peter 3:13-17) – “Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. "Do not fearwhat they fear; do not be frightened." But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.”
So, as he declares in chapter 4:12-19 – “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.”
- Meet together with at least 1 or 2 other believers to enter the Throne Room of Grace.
- Join our 6:00pm Thursday night prayer team.
- Thank God for the blessing of righteous suffering and don’t be afraid!
- Pray for the Good News families of the week: Ruth Doolittle, Adam Doud, Joan Doud.
- Praise God for the Scriptures that bring encouragement and wisdom in the face of suffering!
- Be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you about the reason for your hope.
- Pray for peace and don’t be surprised when you suffer for doing good.
- Attend “In Touch” Prayer meeting at GNCC at 10:30am or join in prayer at that time.
- Praise God when you share in the sufferings of Christ and don’t be ashamed to be a Christian.
- When you are called to suffer, commit yourself to God who is faithful and continue to do good.
Prayer Challenge: Pray that God will grant every believer: a passionate devotion to His Word, a humble recognition that we have much room for growth and improvement, His corrective discipline (that may be painful but produces good fruit), and a steadfast courage with strength to endure the arrogance, hostility, ridicule and slander of those who disregard the beauty and authority of God’s Word.